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5-3 Loss Overshadows Sakic Milestone

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

DENVER (AP) -- Olaf Kolzig stopped 45 shots -- including 20 in the third period -- to help the Washington Capitals beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Wednesday night, overshadowing Joe Sakic's 1,500th point.

Sakic had an assist in the first period to become the 11th player to reach the milestone. The 37-year-old Sakic is the sixth player to reach the 1,500-point mark for one franchise.

The Avalanche cut the lead to 4-3 at 17:22 on Andrew Brunette's second goal of the game. Colorado pulled goalie Peter Budaj with 1:12 remaining, but Matt Bradley scored an empty-net goal with 35 seconds remaining after stealing the puck from Sakic.

Alexander Ovechkin had to be helped off the ice with seconds remaining after being hit by a shot in the right leg.

Sakic added a goal in the third period as he snuck in a shot under the arm of Kolzig to make it a 3-2 game. Danius Zubrus scored minutes later to restore Kolzig's two-goal cushion after a turnover by Ossi Vaananen.

Ovechkin was awarded a penalty shot at 11:58 of the third period -- following a hold by Ken Klee on a breakaway -- but Budaj swatted it away with his stick. A frustrated Ovechkin kicked the puck down the ice.

Mike Green and Ovechkin scored goals 1:38 apart in the second period to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead.

Alexander Semin recorded an assist on Ovechkin's fifth goal of the season and has at least a point in all eight games. Semin's streak matches Ovechkin's string to open last season.

Budaj, making his second straight start over Jose Theodore, had 26 saves. Theodore hasn't played since giving up eight goals against his former team, the Montreal Canadiens, last Saturday.

After announcing Sakic's 1,500th point, the crowd gave him a standing ovation and players tapped their sticks on the ice. Sakic waved to the crowd as he sat down on the bench.

He's in his 18th season and ranks 15th on the NHL's all-time assist list with 922.

Sakic's pass set up a Marek Svatos shot from the right side, which caromed off Kolzig's pads and right to Brunette, who backhanded it into the net to tie the game at 1-1.

The Capitals scored 53 seconds into the game when Chris Clark's attempted pass deflected off a Colorado skater, right back to him and he wristed a shot high past Budaj. Notes: It was the first meeting between Washington and Colorado since the Avalanche's 4-1 win on Dec. 8, 2003 ... Matt Pettinger recorded his first assist of the season on Green's goal. ... The game was delayed when the glass door leading to the Avalanche penalty box was shattered after Ovechkin rammed Karlis Skrastins into it.

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